After Southern California's thrashing of Oregon State, the Trojans believed they had secured a spot in the Nokia Sugar Bowl for a shot at the national title. The Trojan's were ranked No.2 in the country in both "human" polls (AP and ESPN/Coaches) as well as the Bowl Championship Series poll. Whipping the Beavers 52-28 could only help them, right?
That is what coach Pete Carroll and his team believed.
LSU, ranked No. 3 in the BCS poll, stated its case why they should be playing in the national championship game after they dominated 5th-ranked Georgia 34-13 in the SEC Championship Game.
While the Tigers were beating up on the Bulldogs, Kansas State was in the process of tossing the biggest wrench into the BCS engine that had ever been seen. The Wildcats mauled No.1 Oklahoma 35-7 in the Big 12 Championship Game. The win by the Wildcats created the worst possible scenario for the Bowl Championship Series - no undefeated teams and three teams with a single loss.
As we all know now by now, it will be Oklahoma and LSU to play in New Orleans on January 4 for all the marbles. The Trojans, now ranked No. 1 in both human polls, will play Michigan in the Rose Bowl on January 1 and will be unable to compete for the national crown.
What's wrong with this picture?
The answer is quite simple: bye-bye BCS, hello playoff.
Oklahoma does not deserve to be in the national championship game if it were up to the writers and coaches. The Sooners failed to win their own conference championship, yet they are playing for the biggest championship in the land.
However, this is not the first time this has happened.
In 2001, a Nebraska team, that was railroaded by Colorado just weeks earlier, failed to even reach the Big 12 title game and played in the Rose Bowl against Miami for the national championship.
Despite his team's embarrassing loss to the Wildcats, Sooners' head coach Bob Stoops believes they still deserve the opportunity that the BCS gave them.
"I don't have any control over (the BCS)," Stoops said in his weekly press conference. "If we're in that position, it speaks for itself. Our strength of schedule, our quality wins, everything they take into consideration, indicates that we've earned our way. We'll do our best to do everything in a positive way and to win.
"I think it's pretty obvious that although I respect both those programs (LSU, USC), we've come 13-14 straight weeks of being No. 1, carrying that burden the entire year, and playing pretty well. In the end, we're No. 1 in the BCS. I find no shame in that. We (OU and LSU) each played an extra game, playing a top 10 team, to get where we are. I'm not going to apologize. We're No. 1 in the entire system. There is nothing to apologize for."
The team with the biggest argument is USC.
Ranked No. 1 in both the Associated Press and USA Today/ESPN Coach's Poll, the Trojans actually dropped in the BCS after beating Oregon State in their regular season finale.
Strength of schedule is what hurt USC. Who would have thought a Syracuse victory over Notre Dame and a Boise State victory over Hawaii would have denied the Trojans a chance to play in the Sugar Bowl?
While the Trojans are out of the BCS Title Game, they still can claim a share of the national championship if they were to defeat Michigan in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day.
The USA Today/ESPN Coach's Poll is locked in to voting for the winner of the OU/LSU match-up, but the writers are not. If the Trojans were to beat Michigan, the national championship may be split, further diluting the BCS, which was created to determine a single national champion.
Despite the controversy, Nick Saban continues to believe in the system.
"I never make a lot of comments about the BCS and the system," Saban said. "I have always tried to show respect and loyalty to the system we have. I know a lot of quality people have worked long and hared to try to make the system as good as it could be.
"There were three teams that everybody could make an argument or a justification for having the opportunity to play for the National Championship. It is not a perfect system. I am sure that there will be changes made because of this, and I am sure college football will be better because of it."
According to SEC Commissioner Mike Slive, who replaced BCS founder Roy Kramer, one change could be the addition of a fifth BCS Bowl that would determine a national champion.
"I think we know we're going to have to look at the situation at the end of the year," Slive said. "We're not going to have an NFL style playoff. We're going to look at a lot of different models; some of those models will involve a fifth bowl game. How that game gets configured, we have a fifth game where and when; I think all of those things will have to be taken into consideration.
"I think a lot of it will be based on previous history in deciding what we do, what's best for the BCS. We're going to look at that. This isn't going to bring an NFL style playoff, but we've been thinking about different kinds of models. We're going to have some meetings over the next several months and see whether or not we should add a bowl, but we have to figure out where and when; do we add it in the front or the back end?"